Timeshares are a bid industry, big name hotels are in this business. although the average timeshare owner is in his 50’s, these days even millennial are buying timeshares. I live in Florida and this state is the leader among US states in terms of timeshare properties. If you’re one of those who are considering buying timeshares, you must read this post first.
Once we were in Orlando, visiting the theme parks when we got this offer from hotel front desk. Attend 2 hours of a presentation and get 2 free tickets to Magic Kingdom theme park and other smaller perks. That was almost $200 value and we had an extra day at hand, which we would have spent shopping anyway.
We guessed this was for a timeshare, we had a conversation and we both promised each other to come out of it with a decision to not buy a timeshare.
Firstly we didn’t have the money to pay for a timeshare and secondly, we knew it’s a losing proposition. We knew that there are not really a lot of takers when I want to sell my timeshare.
We are a couple that thrives on deal shopping and saving money on almost everything. So, we decided to give it a try, the presentation was at one hotel’s conference rooms. There was not travel at all.
Woke up in the morning, had breakfast, got ready and went down, there were around 10 other couples in the room. Very soon the presentation started.
Throughout the presentation, this salesman stressed how timeshares were cheap, lucrative and stress-free vacations. They can be true for some but for most they are not.
Let me explain why so that you know whether to buy a timeshare.
Timeshares are not cheap, you need to cough up the upfront cost, closing cost, applicable fees, taxes. then every year you’ll be assessed a maintenance fee. Also, if your property needs certain upgrade or repair, you’ll be needed to pay for those as well.
An average timeshare sells for $14,000 – $16,000, annual fee ranges from $500 to $3000 one-time costs can be anywhere from $100 to $10,000. They are not so cheap. Buying timeshare is same as buying your share of a hotel stay for years to come.
They said timeshares make it possible for you to swap with others and enjoy free stay anywhere in the world. Often the reality is that you don’t really find any alternate place where owners are willing to swap theirs with yours.
When you want to go to Hawaii, you find only place that’s open is Smokey mountains, which you traveled a number of times.
You’d probably not use your timeshare that year and spend your night at a Hawaii hotel instead. So paying for a timeshare without using it. It’s not very lucrative.
Unless you absolutely in love with smokey mountains and want to go there every year. I have seen people from my neighborhood visiting their Orlando timeshare every year, even now when their children have left their home.
They said it’s stress-free and all you need to do is book your flight tickets and come down. The place will be waiting for you. But imagine after 5 years, would you still be going to the same city?
Now when you try to sell the timeshare, you may find no takers. Or even if you find someone, the price is not even same as your buying price. So you have an investment that loses its value over time. That’s a lot of stress!
Although, there are places where you can get timeshare appraisal before you buy even, so take full advantage and just don’t fall for any pitch.
The points to be careful about
Make up your mind before going to the presentation – We attended a couple of presentation already and didn’t fall for the pitch. We went there to score some Disney park ticket and successfully got them.
But, for the uninitiated I’d suggest if you’re not very serious about buying a timeshare, do not attend the presentation. Also, if you’re short on time then do not waste your time
Saying No is your option – No matter how hard you were convinced to say ‘Yes’, stick to your original decision if it was a ‘No’ then let it be ‘No’ throughout. In the seminar we attended, we tried no excuses, we confessed we were there for the free admission tickets only.
At some point when they really got the feeling about our resolve they didn’t spend much energy on us and concentrated on others instead.
Every detail of your offer must be in print – I have seen people being promised number of things. Salesmen even say the yearly maintenance bill will be just a couple of hundreds, that was a just ridiculous promise.
Get every promise made to you in writing. Have the offer details documented and always buy time to take the final decision. Go over the printed material later decide if timeshares are for you. Do not make an impulse decision then and there.
always remember a promise is not a promise unless it is documented and signed. Also, on the final closing match the documents, offer by offer with the initial set you were given. and the difference could raise a red flag and needs to be reconsidered.
For some, timeshares work, for many they don’t. It’s always better to know if they are right for you before you buy one of them. So gather your offer details, gather your financial details and see if you have enough financial muscle to cover the upfront cost, yearly maintenance cost, and very frequent on-time special maintenance fees.
These decisions are as important as deciding whether you’d like to visit the same place year after year and how easy it’s to swap the place with other timeshare owners.
Buying a timeshare is a big financial decision and deserve your careful consideration